The United States has provided the Philippine Air Force with new reconnaissance aircraft to strengthen surveillance operations in the South China Sea, where China is increasing its maritime presence.
The United States donated to the Philippine Air Force a Cessna 208B reconnaissance aircraft equipped with sensors and communications equipment to conduct surveillance activities over a wide area of the South China Sea.
On the 19th, a handover ceremony was held at Clark Air Force Base in central Luzon, and Philippine Defense Minister Teodoro expressed his gratitude for the donation, saying, "The Philippines is a strong country and if it has strong equipment, it can become an important country that can contribute to regional stability and security."
In response, a Pentagon official stated, "The Philippines is the country that receives the largest support from the United States in the Indo-Pacific region, and we will continue to provide assistance toward the goal of modernizing the Philippine Armed Forces," and indicated that the U.S. Department of Defense will continue to strengthen its assistance to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific.
This is the first time the Philippine Air Force has been provided with reconnaissance aircraft from the United States since two in 2017, and it will be used for surveillance and disaster response in territorial waters and EEZ = exclusive economic zone, keeping in mind China, which is actively advancing into the South China Sea.
In the South China Sea, Philippine military supply activities were disrupted by Chinese government vessels in September, and several Chinese fishing boats were reported to have been identified in the EEZ.